ST. LOUIS – New developments in the case of the Central West End couple who’ve become known worldwide for pointing guns at demonstrators outside their home on a gated, private drive this past Sunday.
Dozens of nearby residents have issued an open letter condemning their behavior.
New gates and fencing were erected Thursday at the Kingshighway entrance to Portland Place to protect the private streets and homes on the other side.
The move came days after the now infamous incident with demonstrators passing by on Portland Place to a protest outside St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house a few blocks away.
As the gates went up, two dozen neighborhood homeowners released a letter condemning the brandishing of weapons by homeowners, Mark and Patricia McCloskey.
“Peaceful protests should never be met with violence or a threat of violence,” said Tim Noonan, speaking for the residents of nearby Westmoreland Place, which is also a gated, private drive.
The letter condemns the behavior of anyone who uses threats of violence, especially with firearms, to disrupt peaceful protests.
“It does not strike us in the spirit of common sense that those protesters posed the type of threat that should result in the threat of violence and the brandishing of firearms,” Noonan said. “We don’t believe, speaking for this group about the specifics of our letter, is that that protest posed a threat to life, limb, and property of anybody.”
Noonan made clear the Westmoreland Place homeowners who crafted the letter were speaking only for themselves and not the entire homeowners’ association.
After the confrontation with the McCloskeys, neighborhood security peacefully steered demonstrators through another gate leading toward the mayor’s private drive, Noonan said. There were no injuries.
Still, after initially prying the gate open and walking through, Mark McCloskey has told Fox 2/News 11 demonstrators destroyed the gate and began pouring through, changing the tenor of things.
“When people came through the gate, I was genuinely in fear for my life, and had no other choice in mind,” Mark McCloskey said. “The response to this by people that were not involved has now gone worldwide and my life presently very difficult. We’ll get past it.”
The McCloskeys’ attorney, Al Watkins, has issued a statement calling the neighbors who signed the letter “disingenuous.”
“They pay for the same round the clock armed security personnel … to ensure people are stopped from entering the private property,” he said.